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Photo: Kane Reinholdtsen/Unsplash

Shut up and act,” they tell Jennifer Lawrence when she speaks up about the gender pay gap.

Shut up and dribble,” they tell LeBron James when he talks about racism.

Shut up and play,” they tell Colin Kaepernick, as he starts a movement of silent protest about racial inequality (the ignoring of which helped lead to more violent ones).

Shut up and sing,” they tell Jon Bon Jovi when he sings about police brutality and mass shootings.

But they’re not shutting up.

And neither is country singer Brent Cobb. In today’s release of Keep ‘Em on They Toes, Cobb addresses head-on the tendency of the far right to ask actors, singers, and athletes to shut up and perform in the song “Shut Up and…

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Photo: @armantaherian/Unsplash

At the time I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my 2003 Pathfinder at one of Mesa’s Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) locations, waiting for my vehicle’s emissions test to be completed.

On my way here, I took a freeway with a speed limit of 65. At one point, I looked down and I realized I was driving under the speed limit at 60 mph. And my speedometer is a little off, so I was probably only truly going about 57 or 58.

Yep, I was that guy. It’s not nearly the first time this has happened, either. And it isn’t just the rate of speed at which I drive; I always let off the gas really early when coming to a red light (you know, to save wear and tear on the brakes). I keep a good twenty car-lengths between me and the next vehicle in front of me on the interstate when I can help it. …

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This photo will make sense with the story if you keep reading. Credit: @freestocks/Unsplash

For me, listening to worship music doesn’t always come easy. It’s often highly repetitive. It can contain sentiments that we may not fully grasp or even truly believe in. The most popular songs are often tied directly to churches that hold questionable theology. It can be written and produced for the purposes of getting radio play, instead of to praise God.

But as I’ve been more deliberate in my quest to draw nearer to God in the past few years, I’ve also been more intentional in finding worship music that is artful and God-centered, by artists like Josh Garrels and Iron Bell Music. …

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My house and couch aren’t this nice, but I digress. Photo credit: @austindistel/Unsplash/

I start a new job on Monday. My search this time around was much different than any other I’ve had to do.

I won’t waste your time with stats about joblessness and unemployment claims during the pandemic; we all know those numbers at this point. And we all have either been directly affected, or know someone who has.

But what I am going to going to share with you are some things I did and some things I learned that may prove useful to you (or your friend or loved one) in your search, too.

A Quick Background on My Search

I think it’s important for me to quickly share the backstory on my quest for a new job. I didn’t lose my job because of Coronavirus. I actually lost my job back in September due to client budget cuts, and since my wife and I had both already been discussing one of us staying home with our daughter for a while, it was perfect timing. …

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Photo: @alschim/Unsplash

For the past few years, my wife and I have been doing all kinds of things to get out from under our debt. When we got married in 2015, we had about $128,000 in debt between my truck and all our school loans.

We’ve been using the snowball method — we got rid of my truck, paid off my student loans, and have gotten rid of about half of hers. We’re down to about $40,000 left.

As you might imagine, I’ve searched the Internet high and low to figure out ways to make money on the side. …

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Sitting outside during breaks gives me an opportunity to watch the airplanes, listen to the birds, and de-stress.

Starting the Day Well

I’ve realized recently that I am doing one of the best things that I can do for my wife and daughter when I am geographically the farthest away from them.

When I get to work early at my job in Tempe, I turn off the ignition in my 2003 Pathfinder. I put my $3 Wal-Mart sun shade over my windshield in front of my no-longer-smelly Little Tree air freshener, and turn on some worship music.

Then, I pray, read God’s word, and meditate and reflect for 15 to 30 minutes. This quiet time with God starts the day off right. It helps me to reset after the 5:00 AM controlled chaos of getting ready, getting the baby to the sitter, and dealing with pre-rush hour freeway traffic. …

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This dog may have a valid reason to complain. Photo credit: @karsten116/Unsplash

Note: This article is the first in a series called Credibility for Christians. In the series, I’m taking a look at certain behaviors and how they strengthen or help to dismantle the credibility of a Christian’s story and the deeper story of the Gospel. I’m focusing on behaviors that I myself need to improve upon.

Can you imagine having a running Skype conversation with a coworker in which you both complain, for nearly the duration of an entire day? I’m ashamed to say I did this very thing with a coworker in a previous job, for months on end.

At first, I commiserated a little with him because I felt it was a means of finding common ground; we both disliked a lot of the same things about various topics. But soon, it became the norm. …

My wife and I got married in April 2017. Shortly after, we began going hard at our budget. We had about $128,000 in debt between my truck and our degrees.

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I couldn’t justify a $495 payment on this when we found out we were pregnant. Hopefully it found a good home.

One of the first things on the chopping block (after my truck… RIP) was our wireless plans. We were paying around $200 monthly for our two smartphones and her mom’s parents’ flip phones. I used StraightTalk at $45/month, and the rest was my wife and her parents on T-Mobile.

$15/month wireless service at rock-bottom “bulk” pricing

So I began searching for the absolute lowest price on a cell phone plan. I found a few that were less than $25 monthly for one line, including Mint Mobile, Tello, and a couple others. …

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Photo credit: Ana Francisconi /

When I think about the word “joy,” I think of scripty, feminine Instagram posts. You know, like those Proverbs 31-type posts. It seems most of the joy-related media I have consumed has been directed at women.

And when I see joy in real life, it often looks like that person at work or the grocery store walking around with a goofy smile plastered on their face… you know, that person who makes you say, “what are you so happy about?”

But that guy with the smile so big we question it?

That guy should be you and me.

Why should men be joyful?

Joy is just as important for men as it is for women, if not more so. As leaders in our homes, churches, workplaces, and communities, we can use joy to show Jesus to others. When we become that guy with the annoying smile as our usual expression, other guys will begin to ask questions: Why are you so happy? Why do you walk around smiling?

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Thumbs up, right Donald? Photo: @historyhd/Unsplash

While China first reported cases of what we now know to be coronavirus in December, and then its first deaths in early January¹, I’d like to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt.

On January 13, the WHO reported the first case outside China in Thailand.¹ By January 17 only two deaths had been reported from China. On January 20, China was reporting 200 cases and a third death.¹

No need to sound the alarm based on this alone. Still giving Trump a pass at this point; I’m unsure what information White House intelligence had available.

While Democrats are eager to hold Trump responsible for not acting prior to this point, I don’t think that’s reasonable unless he had intelligence suggesting that he act. …


Josh Smith

Follower of Christ; husband; father. Arizona, USA. Author of zero published books; just honest thoughts on Christianity and parenting. More:

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